‘I shouldn’t have stopped the bike being stolen, as I wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for that’

Published date15 June 2022
Publication titleIrish Times (Dublin, Ireland)
Life had been difficult there, the 36-year-old said. While not himself involved "in anything unlawful", he had lost friends to the scourge of crime and drugs, but he had been kept safe by a strong family

"It's a hard situation, but it's happy. I worked a lot and I always try to improve my life," said Bento, who came to Ireland in February 2019.


Life in Ireland was good, at the beginning. Soon, he found a job as a food delivery cyclist, but, like other couriers, was often attacked by youths, who threw stones and eggs. During his murder trial, he said: "[I] always avoid, and always try to go away."

"For them it was fun, for us we were working and trying to improve life," he said in broken English, adding that he had not come to Ireland "to make problems" for anyone. "My intention is to do something good and never something bad," he told his murder trial.

But something bad happened on January 26th, 2021, on East Wall Road in the north inner city. At 9pm, 16-year-old Josh Dunne and his friends had made their way east to a pizza shop but it was closed.

Turning back, Dunne's group came face to face with a stand-off already under way between a bike thief and two food-delivery cyclists, one of whom was George Gonzaga Bento. Moments later, Dunne, who had never come to Garda attention, was stabbed twice by the Brazilian.

In his interviews with detectives, Bento was unwavering. He had only tried to defend himself, had never intended to hurt anyone and believed that "justice will show this; the divine justice will show the right way".

Taking the stand in the Central Criminal Court, Bento said Dunne and another youth had "come for" him and a colleague, Guilherme Quieroz. "I just try to keep me safe and defend myself [sic]".

That night, Bento had worked out of the McDonald's at East Wall when he saw a man on a moped making off with a delivery cyclist's electric bike. The thief rode his vehicle down East Wall Road, carrying the stolen bicycle on his shoulder. "It doesn't matter it's not my bike; he is doing something wrong and I had the opportunity to stop him," Bento said.

Together with Quieroz, he followed the man to the junction of East Wall Road.

When they approached, the thief tried to intimidate and insult them, riding around them in circles, trying to kick them. The thief got off his vehicle and pretended he "had a knife" at his back, Bento said, who responded by taking his own knife from his pocket, which he said he used to cut fruit. "I don't want...

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